Near death experiences

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Theosophical perspective

Experience of Betty Bland

In 1968, Betty Bland had a near-death experience:

I went into the hospital for a simple surgical procedure, which, through physical error, resulted in my encounter with death and a month-long stay in the hospital.

Sparing you some of the gruesome details, I will say only that, even after the medical personnel were able to resuscitate my vital life sings, I endured several days of hanging on the edge of death and several more weeks in which several of my body systems had various failures. A long convalescence then brought me gradually back to health. Since then an abiding interest in cultivating my physical resources has allowed me to enjoy an active life on this plane.

Now to the real story: My near death experience occurred, not in the operating room, but as a culmination of the several days at the edge of death. Certainly psychic sensitivity was greatly heightened at this time, and I was able to slip in and out of physical consciousness at will. I preferred staying in the astral realms, but could be called back whenever necessary.

At the crisis point, in the wee hours of one morning, I was transported to the "Council of Light." The Council exhibited a unite of purpose, but a diversity of points of view as expressed in clearly understandable thoughts from different origins within the Light. There were no specific forms as such, but different foci within the Light. They were great beings, but received me as if they were my brothers and sisters, partners in the life process. There was a total sense of rightness and familiarity with being in their presence - certainly no sense of awe, cowering or surprise. They were supportive and totally non-condemnatory as they journeyed with me in my life review.

An interesting aspect of the review was its non-linearity. Instead of a linear time review of events, a series of thematic holographic bubbles arose, each drawing from obscure reaches of time until it incorporated the wholeness of the theme. Themes included relationships with individuals and qualities of being or capacities developed.

Shortcomings were relegated to things to be covered in future lives and successes were acknowledged as completions. Oddly enough, as far from perfect as I was, it was acknowledged that I had accomplished all that was necessary for this life. As little as I had done, it was enough! One can never know from external appearances what are the assigned tasks for a life time. We must be so careful in thinking we have the right to judge another!

When given the choice and after reviewing the potential results of my death, i reluctantly but determinedly set my direction toward the earth plane. The Council of Light was supportive but allowed me to make my own decision. They did have, however, serious concerns about whether I had developed the strength of being to face my new life with its new assignments. "It will not be as easy as you have had it up to this point," they warned. I persisted, however, proving the maxim the "fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

The Near death experience transformed my outlook and approach to life. No long complacent, I was catapulted into an intense quest for understanding, seeking out new ideas, meditating deeply on my own motives, an drastically changing my interactions with life. Death had no sting; the grave had no victory; life was merely a game, a classroom; but life was to be lived with a fervent intensity. Nothing matters, but everything matters![1]

Additional resources


  1. Betty Bland, "The Near Death Experience: A Theosophical Perspective, The Messenger 13 (March, 1996), 1.